‘Especially vulnerable areas’ increase in Sweden: report

The Local.se — June 12, 2017

Burnt out police car in Malmö, Sweden, 2016. Click to enlarge

Burnt out police car in Malmö, Sweden, 2016. Click to enlarge

Eight new districts in Sweden have been added to a high-profile police list of ‘especially vulnerable areas’, where crime rates and poverty levels are often high, reports Swedish newspaper DN.

In 2015 Sweden’s national police released a report of 53 so-called vulnerable areas, including 15 considered especially vulnerable. Eight new districts have now been added to that list, which has not yet been made public, bringing the latter number up to 23, reports the DN newspaper.

The term “no-go zone” caught on in some international media back in 2015 after it was used by a Swedish newspaper columnist to label these areas, but it has been strongly rejected by police themselves.

The police definition of such districts describe them as socio-economically vulnerable areas where crime and poverty rates are generally high, where police regularly have to adapt their methods and equipment to the volatile situation, where there may be violent religious extremism and where residents often do not report crimes to the police, either out of fear of retaliation or because they think it will not lead to anything.

According to DN, the new especially vulnerable areas are: Norrby and Hässleholmen/Hulta in Borås, Tynnered/Grevegården/Opaltorget in Gothenburg, Karlslund in Landskrona, Nydala/Hermodsdal/Lindängen in Malmö, Fittja and Alby in Stockholm and Gottsunda in Uppsala.

Linda Staaf, who heads the national police NOA’s intelligence department, told the newspaper that some of these areas should have been classified as especially vulnerable in the previous report in 2015, but that the police had then not collected enough information to properly assess the situation there.

“In comparison to the last report we now have more knowledge and a better picture,” she said.

Many regional police heads have called for more financial resources and more staff.

“We know how to work when it comes to the problems in this area and our two previous especially vulnerable areas, that’s not the problem. But in order to do that in the right way we ought to be at least another hundred staff,” Malmö police chief Stefan Sintéus told DN

The areas listed in the 2015 police report are Vivalla in Örebro, Hallunda/Norsborg in Botkyrka, Husby in Stockholm, Ronna/Geneta/Lina in Södertälje, Rinkeby/Tensta in Stockholm, Araby in Växjö, Rosengård south of Amiralsgatan in Malmö, Södra Sofielund (Seved) in Malmö, Skäggetorp in Linköping and Bergsjön, Biskopsgården, Gårdsten, Hammarkullen, Hjällbo and Lövgärdet, all in Gothenburg.

Last week The Local reported that at least one of these areas, Seved in Malmö, may be on the right path, with police telling us that it may be removed from the list in just a couple of years.

“The criminal network is still there, but they are becoming fewer and fewer and we are very happy that we’re not seeing any new recruitment. There are no younger members connected to this network, so they are getting older and older and fewer and fewer,” said the police’s municipal liaison officer Jonatan Örstrand, adding that it “all depends on the course of the future”.

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